Tax boost for Broadway

January 2016

Live events sector



Under wider tax legislation that has now passed through the House and Senate, Broadway and live theater productions can now benefit from the same advantages that have long been afforded to TV and film productions. Live theater and concert productions can now get up to $15 million in tax credits if they spend at least 75 percent of their budgets in the U.S. The new rule would apply for productions starting after Dec. 31st 2015. The change has been championed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Roy Blunt of Missour and and stars including Neil Patrick Harris and Bryan Cranston. Schumer, who has been working on the tax break for four years, said the change would create “thousands and thousands” more jobs for actors and backstage workers, and produce more shows nationwide, helping hotel, restaurant and taxi industries. He noted that other countries also grant live theater similar breaks, especially in London, which has been luring away American production.


The tax law change, part of a bill that President Obama is expected to sign, would provide an incentive for investors in live theatrical productions by accelerating deductions and by ending the practice of requiring them to pay income tax on what producers call “phantom profits,” which is money returned to investors that is less than the amount they had initially invested. Investment in theater is highly risky – most Broadway shows fail financially – so the industry wants to make it as attractive as possible.

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